The Woodcroft: Carols by the Lake event was the last event of the year and was an event that required a large amount of prep work from the band due to 2 major factors. Firstly this would be our longest gig out of isolation requiring us to perform once during the day and once during the night for the main Christmas event. Secondly, at this event, we were going to manage a food stand to raise funds for the band’s future.
This wasn’t the first time the band had run a food stall for an event, however, it had been at least 3 years since the last one. Due to this a whole month of prep work was required from planning the layout of the stall, deciding what food was going to be sold, testing the food, and finally buying all the necessary items. The month had quickly passed by and the band was thankfully able to complete all the necessary preparations in time with extra work being put in by Geli, Sophia, and Raelene who all deserve praise due to the extra work they put in throughout the entire preparation period.
On the day the band had called on a few extra people to help run the stall smoother who we would also like to thank. Thanks to everyone’s hard work, we were able to sell all of our food items leading to the band breaking even and turning over a profit.
On the gig side of things, the first performance was a solo vocal rendition of the Australian National Anthem to start the entire day of festivities. Shortly after was the band’s first stage performance, a 30 minute set with the band’s classic jazz and pop tunes being performed such as “Fly Me to the Moon”, “Treasure”, “Man in the Mirror”, and more. Later on, towards the afternoon was a short impromptu singing set by Geli performing a short set of acoustic pop songs to keep up high moods of the festival before the day of festivities had ended and moved on to the carols by the lake event. The band performed a 30-minute set reminiscent of November’s Christmas gigs, as a lead-up to the main carols event, ending their set with a mashup of Justin Bieber’s “Mistletoe”, Drummer Boy and Ariana Grande’s “Santa Tell Me”. Finally, the event ended with 30 minutes of carols with Geli and Sophia helping out “Living Bread Ministries” to close the day.
Despite the circumstances, the past 3 Christmas gigs have gone quite well for the band and hopefully, the band will continue to grow and recover from the lockdown and be able to bring the community a great set of performances throughout the next year.
The past few years have impacted the band in a very strange way. Due to the pandemic, many members are unable to play for certain gigs due to their lifestyle and occupation. Which left us thinking on our feet for the best solution and band arrangements to ensure we were still playing to our standard. Lucky for us the majority of the members in the band are multi-skilled allowing people to rotate to other instruments when required.
This however required us to practice A LOT as a band and individually as the long months of lockdown had rusted our skills.
BLACKTOWN CITY CHRISTMAS FESTIVALS
After a long break due to COVID-19, the band was invited to 3 gigs within the Blacktown city area to perform a 30 – 40 minute set of light-hearted Christmas songs ending the year strong and full of joy. The band was delighted to be invited and had a great time performing at these events especially after another break due to the pandemic.
The first gig was at the Mount Druitt Christmas Concert, which welcomed the community to the spirit of Christmas through the annual concert at the Dawson Mall, Mount Druitt. This event provided local residents with free stage performances by local community groups from diverse communities such as dance troupe and bands such as ourselves!! We performed with a limited number of band members (eight to be exact) due to Jeffrey and Katrina being preoccupied with their work schedules. We performed a 30 min set of Jazzy Christmas classics before the Christmas tree was finally lit up by Santa Claus.
The next Christmas concert we were invited to perform at was at Riverstone. This was an inaugural event and the band was honoured to be invited to perform a classic set of jazzy Christmas songs to set a joyful mood for the whole event. The event was held at the Riverstone Neighbourhood Centre, a small cozy venue hosting a couple of food stalls and a charming Christmas tree. Despite missing one member due to work, the band was able to play a 30 min set similar to the one played at the previous Mount Druitt Christmas Concert setting a relaxed mood for the festival. Once again the festival ended with the lighting of the Christmas tree and Santa making an appearance to take a few photos.
The last Christmas Festival the Blacktown City council invited us to perform at was… Blacktown, which was unfortunately cancelled due to the rainy weather.
A post to catch up on forgotten gigs/posts before lockdown took us by storm.
FLORES DE MAYO
For those who don’t know what Flores de Mayo is, it is a Filipino festival celebrated in May. It is a celebration that lasts a month-long and is designated to the Blessed Virgin Mary.
As a result, our performance during the festival consisted of hymns and songs centred around Mary and her grace. Additionally, we were able to perform our usual jazzy set after the festival had ended.
The performances were held at Our Lady Help of Christians Catholic Church Rosemeadow and John Therry Catholic College.
Unlike previous years Blacktown’s City Festival event “Streets Alive” has been revamped for this year (2021) having a brand new name and location. Blacktown Parkfest was located at the Blacktown International Sportspark and had several performances, market stalls, and free rides to entertain those of all ages.
And luckily for us, we were able to perform for this event twice. Our first performance was on Stage 3 and at 10 am we performed our usual set of jazz, rock, and pop. After an amazing performance, we had a bit of time before the march which allowed us to explore the place.
As the parade was about to get started, we got ourselves into our marching uniforms and we fell into our position for the parade. Everything went smoothly and it was an amazing event. We ended up wandering around as the stalls and environment were so captivating.
If you ever get the chance, don’t miss out on the next Blacktown Parkfest!
We were so excited to hear that we were invited to perform at this year’s (2021) annual Riverstone Festival! Similar to Blacktown Parkfest we performed in the street parade which commenced at 11 am. It was amazing to see the community get together after a long battle with the pandemic.
This year we were lucky enough to get invited to RunWest as on course entertainment for the runners to enjoy. RunWest is a community fun run event hosted by NAB that has participants running a 12km course starting from Sydney Motorsports Park, going through Sydney Zoo and ending at the event headquarters. As this was the first time the band had been invited to the event we were very eager to perform and provide our support to the runners.
With a very early meet up time of 5:00 am the band was ready to go performing on the corner of Huntingwood drive playing a set of jazz, pop and rock songs for the first runners arriving at around 6:45am. The band provided a constant flow of upbeat tunes bringing an upbeat atmosphere for the runners up until the final wave of participants ending at 8:15:am.
Despite the early meet up time the band thoroughly enjoyed performing for RunWest and would like to thank the organizers of the event for reaching out to us and giving us the opportunity to perform. The band would also like to congratulate all the runners for their fantastic work on the course and give thanks to all those who showed us their support whilst on course. We hope to see you guys next year!
After the performance last year, the band was once again invited back to the Quirindi Military Tattoo as the first performance of the year. After the positive reception from the community last year and the band’s enjoyment of the event, we happily accepted the chance to perform once again. During the 3 day trip the band had spent their free time touring the town, local markets and visiting “Bob’s Shed” – a place filled with a collection of many antiques.
This year the band was given the opportunity to perform within the market area bringing a 75 minute set of jazz, latin, rock and pop numbers providing a lively atmosphere for the event.
The band would like to thank the Blacktown City Council and the Liverpool Plains Shire Council for funding the transportation and accommodation for the event as well as providing another opportunity to perform at Quirindi. The band would also like to thank the folks at the “Quirindi Sunflower Motor Inn” and “Wilgabah Art Shack Gallery” for their hospitality whilst the band was lodging at their facilities. Finally we would like to thank the community Quirindi for allowing us to perform again at the event, as it is the first performance of the year and we felt like we started off strong, and would like to thank you for the support.
The last gig of the year and one of the first gigs of the year after COVID 19 restrictions were alleviated. We performed another Christmas Concert at Blacktown a week after the Mount Druitt Christmas Concert. At this gig we performed a longer set reaching around 35 minutes, which consisted of Jazzy classic Christmas tunes as well as some iconic pop Christmas songs to get the crowd in the spirit of Christmas.
After a long break due to COVID-19 the band was invited to 2 gigs within the Blacktown city area to perform a 25 – 35 minute set of light hearted Christmas songs ending the year strong and full of joy. The band was delighted to be invited and had a great time performing at these events especially after a 6 month break due to the pandemic.
The first gig was at the Mount Druitt Christmas Concert, which welcomed the community to the spirit of Christmas through the annual concert at the Dawson Mall, Mount Druitt. This event provided local residents with free stage performances by local community groups from diverse communities such as dance troupe and bands such as ourselves!! We performed with a limited number of band members as the COVID 19 restrictions limited us to 9 performers on the stage. We performed a set of Jazzy Christmas classics before the Christmas tree was finally lit up by Santa Clause at 8:45pm
There were no breaks after the Quirindi gig as the next week the band had to perform at the “Blacktown City Show”, performing a new set of songs including a cover of “I Want You back” and “The Best” at this 30 minute gig. Despite the circumstances surrounding this event, such as the rise of the pandemic and the rainy weather, the band put on a great performance that was enjoyed by the community present at the festival.
Due to the performance at the previous years “Blacktown City Show”, the band was invited this year to an event at the sister city of Blacktown, Quirindi to perform at a military tattoo event. This was exciting for the band as this was one the first times that we had been invited for the event and after a year of preparation the band was ready to bring their A game to Quirindi. Transportation to the event was provided to the band by the Blacktown City Council, whom the band would like to thank for funding the transportation and accommodation for the event. After the 4 hour bus ride the band was provided accommodation at the “Wilgabah Art Shack Gallery” whom we would also like to thank for their hospitality to us during the 3 day trip. The band had performed a 30-40 minute set of their best jazz and pop songs including “Treasure” and “Blame it on the Boogie” which had been choreographed providing a vibrant atmosphere for the overall event. The band would like to thank both the Liverpool Plains Shire Council and Blacktown Council as well as the community at Quirindi for their hospitality and welcoming attitude as the band had thoroughly enjoyed their time at Quirindi and wishes to perform there again.